Title I, Part A grant funds are used to provide supplemental programs, staffing, and support to elementary schools with the highest rates of poverty. The MCPS model for staffing and programming for Title I schools include the following:
- Providing an equitable funding process to support elementary schools striving to achieve academic standards known as Adequate Yearly Progress.
- Providing funding for family involvement and extended-year programming.
- Implementing a full-day Head Start program in all Title I schools that have a Head Start program.
Title I school-based and family involvement allocations are based on the number of Free and Reduced-price Meals System (FARMS) students enrolled in the school as of October 31 of the previous year.
Schools may use allocated funds to:
- hire additional focus teachers and paraeducators in support of the core academic program.
- purchase supplemental instructional materials that are linked to the core academic areas of reading/language arts and mathematics and focus on the implementation of research-based instruction.
- fund school-based activities in the following areas:
- Professional Development–Title I schools identified for school improvement based on Maryland School Assessment results set aside 10 percent of their school allocation for professional development. Title I schools that are not identified for school improvement may elect to set aside funds for professional development activities.
- Schoolwide Initiatives–All Title I schools allocated up to 10 percent of their Title I school-based allocation to support schoolwide initiatives such as voluntary after-school curriculum planning meetings, consultants, or substitutes for grade-level, long-range planning meetings.
- Family Involvement–Title I regulations require that a portion of the district’s Title I, Part A funds be set aside for family involvement programs and services. Family involvement funds may be used for No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(NCLB)required parent meetings and other outreach activities. Funds may be used to facilitate parent involvement in preparation of the School Improvement Plan.
- Extended Day Programming–Title I schools may elect to allocate school-based funds for extended-day activities to support student achievement. Funds may be used to purchase materials that support academic sessions offered as a part of the extended-day program.
During the 2011–2012 school year, three Title I schools were identified for school improvement status. As a result, they had to set aside 10 percent of their school-based allocation to address professional development needs of the staff. Additionally, all three schools were required to offer the public school choice option, a provision in which students enrolled in a school identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring are given the opportunity to attend another public school in the Local Education Agency (LEA). To fulfill the guidelines of this requirement, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) set aside $156,000 to fund transportation for students transferring under this provision.
This school year MCPS as a system entered Year 1 of System Improvement status. Title I regulations require that districts in system improvement commit to set aside at least 10 percent of Title I, Part A funds to address the professional needs of the instructional staff serving the LEA.
The Title I, Part A, grant also funds the Title I summer program, Extended Learning Opportunities-Summer Adventures in Learning, (ELO SAIL) which provides a half-day academic program during the month of July for kindergarten through Grade 5 students enrolled in Title I schools. In addition to the academic component, students receive free breakfast, lunch, and transportation to and from school. The academic program consists of literacy and mathematics lessons that preview the curriculum content for the upcoming school year at each grade level. This provides students with an opportunity to build on skills critical to academic success. The goals of the program include the following:
- Accelerating learning by previewing grade-level concepts and skills.
- Strengthening basic skills that are the prerequisites for later learning.
- Alleviating the achievement loss experiences by students over the extended summer break.
- Providing continuing English language instruction for second language learners.
ELO SAIL is funded through the Title I, Part A, allocation. These funds are centrally reserved, which means that these funds are not included in Title I schools’ per pupil allocations and that the funds are deducted from the Title I,Part A, allocation from Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). School eligibility for ELO SAIL is determined by eligibility for the Title I program. Typically, all Title I schools are eligible to participate in the ELO SAIL program, which starts at the beginning of July. (Due to the June 28, 2011, decision to maintain Title I status for Twinbrook and Burnt Mills elementary schools, as a result of additional federal funding, ELO SAIL could not be offered at these two schools.)
Identification as a Title I school is based upon the percentage of students eligible for the Free and Reduced-price Meals System (FARMS) at each school. A rank order of schools based on FARMS rates is generated each year as of October 31. This ranking is used to create various options for funding of Title I schools based on the regulations of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. MCPS establishes the FARMS cut-off percentage when it decides how many schools it will serve. There are several factors that can result in a schools ineligibility or removal from the program. The factors include:
- Fluctuating Free and Reduced-price Meals System rates. Each year FARMS rankings fluctuate depending on enrollment and number of students eligible for the FARMS at each school. This may result in schools being added or removed from Title I status. Title I regulations state that districts must serve schools with Title I, Part A funds if the FARMS rate is at 75 percent or higher. After identification of all schools with a FARMS rate at or above 75 percent, districts may serve lower-ranked schools in rank order. In following this process MCPS establishes the FARMS cut-off percentage when it decides how many schools it will serve.
- Maryland State Department of Education Funding. Another determining factor for schools being removed from Title I status is funding from the MSDE. In February 2011 the Board was notified that available Title I funding to support the Title I 23 schools for 2011-2012 school year. These schools were those at or above the FARMS rate of 65.63 percent. This was based on preliminary information received from the state that we should assume title I funding for FY 2012 would be the same as received in FY 2011.
Based upon the approval process, once schools are no longer Title I eligible, the Department of Title I Programs discontinues fiscal support and technical assistance to these schools. MCPS makes decisions in regards to the type of support provided to schools for both Title I and ELO SAIL.